Friday, 16 March 2018 18:45

WIN Event Highlights Talent Development, Career Management in Collision Industry

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During the WIN event, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about WIN and listen to an interactive panel discussion. During the WIN event, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about WIN and listen to an interactive panel discussion.


The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) held an industry networking event in March at Pacific Elite Collision in Downey, California.

During the event, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about WIN, listen to an interactive panel discussion about talent development and career management in collision repair, as well as network with others in the industry.


“This was a great opportunity to not only network with local females in the collision repair segment, but also to learn more about WIN and the WIN mission,” said Denise Kingstrom, the North American refinish distribution director for BASF Corporation.


Industry panelists represented a cross-section of experience and included Nicole Wagner, Group Talent Acquisition manager at Enterprise Holdings of Southern California; Liz Stein, VP of Business Development & Marketing at Assured Performance Network; and Andie Rittinger, sales representative for BASF Corporation.


During the panel discussion, the representatives talked about some of the challenges they have faced and why they decided to join the industry. Panelists also provided advice for those looking to work in collision repair.


“I think as women, building credibility is much more difficult and it can be constantly exhausting to have to prove yourself,” said Rittinger. “I think if you are persistent, consistent and can add value, you can get anywhere.”


5 how-to’s for women in the collision repair industry based on the panel discussion:

How to communicate effectively with male counterparts:

Panelists discussed female communication styles in the workplace and offered tips on how to better communicate. These included communicating logically and in a linear fashion as well as avoiding emotion and understanding that everyone has a prejudice of some sort.


“We are there to do a job and to stay laser-focused on what the goals of our position are,” said Wagner, who has 23 years of experience in the auto rental industry and represented the HR/talent acquisition perspective.


How to be viewed as an expert:

Attendees talked about the issue of women who feel they need to “prove themselves” in the industry, both externally with customers and internally with male co-workers and supervisors. After sharing stories of their own, the panelists stressed the importance of demanding to show expertise by demonstrating knowledge with customers and coworkers and ignoring overt biases at times.


How networking can make a difference:

“Being part of professional associations and networking with organizations like WIN can help both professionally and personally. It is a great way to learn more about the industry and get outside your comfort zone,” said Kingstrom.


Wagner shared information about two professional organizations she belongs to outside of her company and how that participation is valuable.


“It has helped me navigate situations and network with people in my field,” she said. “Have a no-fear attitude about approaching women you respect in the field and never underestimate the value of a mentor.”


How to deal with work-life balance:

Each of the panelists talked about work-life balance and what it meant to them personally, then reminded attendees to define their own balance as well.


“Working mothers tend to shoulder a lot of guilt and feel like we are never good enough at home or on the job because time is so limited,” said Wagner. “We have to release the guilt and focus on the example we are setting for our children by being mothers and providing for our families.”


How to manage others:

Rittinger said that as a millennial, it’s important for her to have a purpose.


“That doesn’t mean someone has to give me one. I want my manager to explain the ‘why’ to me, which allows me to find my purpose,” she said.


She said rather than receiving “marching orders,” it is more motivating to understand why a decision was made.

WIN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, developing and cultivating opportunities to attract women to collision repair while recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and fostering a network among the women who are shaping the industry.


To join WIN or renew membership, visit https://thewomensindustrynetwork.site-ym.com/default.asp and click on “Join WIN” at the top of the page.

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